Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King
K.A. Tucker
Series: The Folk of the Air #2
Publication date: January 8, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: a combination of hardcover (library) and audio (Audible)





It’s not often you can say a sequel was worth a year’s wait, but in this case? Oh yeah, totally worth the wait. Holly Black delivered big time in this follow-up to last year’s The Cruel Prince. Everything here is just… more. It’s more intense, it’s darker, and the stakes are higher. So buckle up, buttercup, and prepare yourself for The Wicked King.

I feel like a lot of what I want to say could be spoilery and I want to avoid that at all costs (I’m not even including the synopsis because it gives spoilers for the first book). So, sorry if I’m vague but no way am I going to ruin any part of the experience.

Once upon a time, there was a human girl stolen away by faeries, 
and because of that, she swore to destroy them.

The Wicked King picks up five months after the jaw-dropping ending of The Cruel Prince. Jude and Cardan have an uneasy alliance and the balance of power seems to shift like sand being moved by the tide. Jude’s position as Cardan’s seneschal is tenuous and she knows it. Surrounded by those who would do anything to unseat the king and remove her from her position, she plays a constant game of cat and mouse (often playing both roles). Every player has their own agenda and the political machinations, bargains and threats were aplenty.


Jude proved again and again that she is a total badass. This girl held her own against the Folk with her own cunning, intelligence and sheer force of will. Even in the direst of situations (and there were many!), she never gave up and I was in awe of her grit and determination. She managed to always keep the big picture in mind and juggle every possible move in this grand game of strategy being played.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

Then there’s Cardan. The Cruel Prince left me desperate for more of its eponymous character.  And OMG did The Wicked King deliver. More of the tortured royal, more biting insults and compliments that sound like slights, more self-deprecating humor. Cardan is more complex than ever and peeling back the prickly, beautiful layers was exquisite. And Jude + Cardan together? That’s a beautiful toxic mess of a relationship. There’s mutual mistrust, there’s hatred and there’s also respect and desire and attraction. Believe me when I say “I hate you” has never been sexier.

“And the single last thing in my head: that I like him 
better than I've ever liked anyone and that of all the things 
he's ever done to me, making me like him so much is by far the worst.” 

I love the way Black continued to build the magical and dangerous world of Faerie. I love the elegantly formal speech of the Folk. I love the twists, the betrayals, and the delicious drama of it all. 
And. That. Ending. 
I am so invested. The Wicked King was even more than I hoped for and I am so ready for The Queen of Nothing. 

4.5/5 STARS


26 comments

  1. God, literally every single blog I've visited today has reviewed this book. Too bad I didn't get the review copy. I really want to read it :(

    http://bitesomebooks.com

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    1. It's definitely been a highly anticipated release! I didn't get a review copy, either. I waited until my library had it, plus downloaded to audio version from Audible.

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  2. AWESOME review! I'm glad this one held up!! I need to dive into this series soon!

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  3. I'm so glad you loved this one! Personally, I enjoyed the first book more, but I'm totally with you on the romance! I can't get enough of Jude and Cardan!

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    1. I'm not even sure I can pick a favorite, Tracy. I loved getting introduced to the world in the first book, but I really fell for the interactions between Jude and Cardan in this one.

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  4. Aw yay, I am so glad that you loved this! I have heard SO many great reviews of this, that I end up rethinking my decision to not bother hah. It is seriously rare that a sequel is worth the wait, I agree with you- so happy this one was for you! Great review!

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    1. Yeah, sequels always make me nervous but this totally exceeded my expectations.

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  5. I can't wait to get my hands on my copy of this book. I'm so ready to find out what happens between Cardan and Jude. I hope her sister is having the worst time in this book after what she did to her own sister.

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    1. It was a long wait for this one but totally worth it! I hope you get to read it soon!

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  6. I'm not going to lie, I did a quick skim and then looked at your rating on this one. I didn't want any spoilers but I'm glad to hear that it was worth the wait. Too many sequels have let me down but I had every faith in this series.

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    1. I always go into sequels a little hesitant... but no worries with this one. It definitely doesn't disappoint!

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  7. Oh Yes! This is a must read for me. I can't wait. What an awesome review. Makes me want to read it right now and I can't!! Ughhh I hate school sometimes. =(

    Mary

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  8. Yasss Tanya yasss. I love the mood board you created as well. Cardan was definitely the highlight in the Wicked King, and it feels like we have so much more to learn about him!

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    1. After how TWK ended I definitely need to know more about Cardan!

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  9. I'm so excited for this one, and I could CRY because I've recently finished my reread of TCP and read The Lost Sisters, and my copy of TWK still hasn't arrived! I swear to god, if it doesn't get here tomorrow, I'm going to have a meltdown hahaha.. ha. ANYHOW, I loved your review!! (And now the wait is even harder, so thanks for that lol.)

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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    1. How annoying! I certainly hope your copy has arrived by now (especially since it's been like 2 weeks LOL). And now we both have to wait another year for the next book! *sobs*

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  10. Yay! I've seen so many reviews for The Wicked King and they're all just glowing! I need to hurry up and order my copy.

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read it soon, Suzanne!

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  11. I read this back in June I think and now I have to wait over a year and *cries*

    This book was just WOW and I haven't felt that way about a book in a long time.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Oh wow, you have a seriously long wait after reading it so early.
      I just love the world Holly Black has created. And I need more! :)

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  12. I only skimmed this review because I was afraid something even unintentionally spoiler-y might jump out. I can't wait to try this series!

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    1. I was determined to keep it spoiler-free but you never know what someone might consider a spoiler. I hope you'll love this series if you try it. It hooked even a non-fantasy reader like me! :)

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